Helium Leak Testing – Everything You Need to Know

Helium Leak Testing

Leak testing is essential in quality assurance techniques and functionality testing for a wide range of pressured equipment. While several leak detection technologies are available, helium vacuum tests provide higher sensitivity and accuracy for detecting typical leaks and micro-leaks.

What Does the Helium Leak Testing Indicate?

A helium leakage test is carried out using a helium leak detector called a Mass Spectrometer Leak Detector (MSLD). Helium leak tests are done on pipelines, storage tankages, and vessels that carry chemicals, crude oil, petroleum products, or other liquid items to identify minor breaches in these sealed industrial containers. When leaks are found, corrective actions are taken. A helium sniff test is another name for a helium leakage test.

What Is Helium Pressure Testing Used For?

Helium leak testing finds small or more significant leaks in bigger volumes. The helium is used as a tracer gas and its concentration is measured. This guide to helium leak testing should outline the basics of using this leak testing method.

Are Helium Canisters Risky?

They are entirely safe if left empty and open. They can be hazardous when used as a pressure tank for an air compressor. Helium canisters are intended to be filled once and then discharged. They are designed to be kept from being repeatedly loaded with moisture-laden air and drained. A hazardous failure is significantly more possible due to the moisture attacking the steel and the repetitive pressures.

Importance of Helium Leak Testing

Helium leak testing is essential to guarantee the system or equipment is leak-free when employing a high-pressure or vacuum system. Helium leak detection is the most effective method for detecting leaks since helium is one of the lightest and tiniest molecules and will find its way out of even the smallest openings.

Precautions for Helium Safety

Helium (He) is a noble gas that is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Helium has an atomic weight of 4 and an atomic number of 2. Helium was once used as a diluent for other gases, such as oxygen, in treating some cases of respiratory blockage.

Health and Safety Risks

According to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200, helium is a hazardous material.

Eye Risk

Helium may induce frostbite if it comes into touch with fluids.

Fire Risk

Helium is not flammable. However, exposure to heat or fire can create a rise in pressure, causing it to burst.

Inhalation Risk

Inhaling helium can produce dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and displace oxygen, which can lead to asphyxia.

Skin Hazard

When helium comes in contact with liquid, it can induce frostbite. Liquefied and placed in icy water can produce intense boiling.

Measures for First Aid/Fire and Accidental Release

Accidental Release

Remove all people from the area. Always use your breathing apparatus. Stop the leak if the surrounding area is not in danger.

Eye Contact

Adverse consequences are not foreseen at this time. If your eyes start to hurt, wash them out with clean water immediately. Seek the advice of an ophthalmologist if the irritation does not go away.


Use the proper fire extinguisher.


Take immediate action to turn off the fresh air. If the patient is not breathing, you should do artificial respiration. If you are having trouble breathing, you should get medical attention. Oxygen may be administered by trained individuals only.

Skin contact

Adverse consequences are not anticipated.

Cautionary Measures to Take Before Handling and Storing

  • Use personal protective equipment when moving a Helium canister. 
  • Wear leather work gloves and cover your shoes. 
  • To transfer the cylinder, use a cart or hand truck. 
  • You should store gas in a cold, well-ventilated area. 
  • The temperature should be at most 125 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Strap the cylinder firmly to a wall or a sturdy surface. 
  • After each usage and when the canister is empty, close the container valves.

Method of Waste Disposal

Dispose of the cylinder in line with applicable legislation. The provider can also help dispose of the canister or its contents.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing Helium Leak Testing?

The main benefit of helium leak detection (HLD) testing over other methods is its increased sensitivity. It is readily automated and does not require an operator. When the enhanced sensitivity of an HLD is not needed, it might provide other significant benefits, such as quicker cycle time. It is true not only for leak testing but also for the whole process’s time and cost. As a bonus, HLD may be used for complete global testing and locating the leak’s location.